Thursday, 25 February 2010

Fingered: Green

We must turn our minds to the garden now, to rude bulbs and strewn seeds, the steaming compost and the friendly worms. Gardening is good for you. It is relaxing and, although it is hard on my knees, it doesn't get me as dirty as what I usually do on them.

In the spring I will have watersong on the kitchen roof, and I'll climb up to stroke the silver fur of its succulent leaves, to squint at the thousand tiny flowers that only open when it rains and to distil their cold perfume. Watersong is good for calming down men. I'll have to steal muck from the churchyard to grow my pastors' blight. It's a scrappy perennial with lewd pink blooms that exude an adhesive sap and it must be regularly treated to keep at bay the smutty fungus maidenstongue that sneaks in and stains the skin and spreads like billy-o.

Croneswort is a darling of mine, a beautiful plant despite its ugly name. Its elaborate lilac and cream blossoms smell of chocolate and hash and its miniscule leaves are the shape of perfect hearts. I grow it in hanging baskets in the music room, and it seems to like Bartok the best. My favourite plant of all, though, grows twisted around the roots of the rookwood tree and I have to crawl beneath the swooning boughs to fill my punnet with plump paeanberries, the only fruit that grows fermented on the vine.

And the rest: the bright sprays of gentrian and medicinal germolina, the beds alive with succourling, pianist's fingers, castor root and hex, gay pots trailing tallowfax entwined with fronds of festris, the herbacious borders with their serried ranks of bless-me-not and how-soon, the looming blackwatch with their crowns of owls and in the corners, where it's dark, the feculent mounds of meat alice.

I will grow it all in soil enriched with my personal leakings, and then, in the autumn, I will watch it all die.


  1. i can't pick out one or two or some few lines from this..but of course you save the best line for last.

  2. My husband uses personal leakings to keep the deer away from his saplings.

  3. what is it about watersong that calms us down? it is true of every man i know, or want to know at least...

  4. I've got an orchid.

    That's it. And it seems to want to die before summer.

  5. Your writing would be great for a Sunday newspaper.

    No doubt your garden exhibits the same stylish character as your writing.

  6. this is absolutely beautiful! i love the vague sex references, it gives the thing a tone of being sinister under a layer of green.

  7. The Snout said... that's why there's so much Watersong on my Xbox. I think it gave it the red rings of death you know.

  8. gamefaced - That is why I was always the last one picked for the quoits team, then.

    Hereinfranklin - I think it might be quite nice to have a deer nibble at your saplings.

    Jason - It's the anaesthetic in the sap. That's what I tell the men in my cellar, anyway.

    Ellie - There was an orchid near me, and it looked like a porn star, all gaping and lust-dumb. I licked it.

    Jenny - I will write ONLY for the Mail. ONLY.

    theseabeast - I think green is the most frightening colour of them all. Black is nothing compared to green.

    Snout - You got the red ring of death because of the bad things you do at night, and you know it.